Recoil is the dreadful reality that we are never going to escape as shooters. Recoil can be harsh, tiring, and painful. In addition to the physical effects, it can be mentally draining and discouraging. We must be cognizant of not flinching or pulling our shots which lends to terrible groupings and slow, possibly missed follow up shots. We simply cannot escape the laws of physics, so recoil will always be an issue. We can however learn to control it. With proper form and persistent training, we can work through most recoil issues. Outside of that, there are numerous aftermarket products that genuinely do aid with recoil reduction. Popular products on the market for recoil reduction are recoil pads and muzzle brakes. These are the products I want to focus on in this article to bring you a comparison.
What is a Muzzle Brake?
Muzzle brakes are used with both shotguns and rifles for the purpose of recoil reduction. A muzzle brake is a device that attaches, (usually screwed on) to the muzzle end, usually integrated with the barrel. This device uses the emerging gas behind a projectile to reduce the recoil. In short, the recoil is reduced as the muzzle brake redirects the gasses in a different direction. Muzzle brakes are typically slightly larger than the barrel and add a little length to the gun. While these devices are said to reduce recoil significantly, there are some drawbacks to using them.
What are the Drawbacks of Muzzle Brakes?
One drawback would be the increase in noise. Muzzle brakes cause the gun to be quite a bit louder than they would normally, even more so with certain calibers. The noise level increase is so significant that most people need additional inner ear protection along with their regular ear pro as these devices have been known to cause permanent hearing damage. The other drawback would be price. The average cost for a muzzle break is approximately $250.00.
What is a Recoil Pad?
Recoil pads are generally a piece of rubber, leather or some other type of soft material that attaches to the buttstock of a shotgun or rifle. The idea is to create a soft barrier between the buttstock and shoulder to ease the felt recoil. This is a general and basic definition. There are many different brands of recoil pads on the market and generally they are under forty dollars. Most recoil pads do not make a huge difference in felt recoil, but they can aid in protecting your shoulder. The con to this product is that it adds to the length of pull and creates space between the buttstock and shoulder. This will more than likely create issues in your form and stance. This is why I like the FalconStrike Hydraulic Recoil System. This system is more than merely a soft barrier, it lessens felt recoil significantly with up to 80% less felt recoil. The FalconStrike system literally replaces the buttstock of the shotgun or rifle so there is no issue of adding to the length of pull or affecting your stance and form. Installation of the FalconStrike system is also very simple and hassle free without even the need to measure.
As I stated earlier, recoil is a necessary pain that all shooters must deal with. How it is dealt with is solely up to each individual and what works best for them. There is never “one correct answer” when it comes to deciding on product and gear. Each person must evaluate their own wants and needs to ultimately decide on what works best for them. Personally, I always opt for products or gear that does what it states and impacts my finances the least. If you are looking for options to mitigate recoil in your shooting, I would urge you address your own individual needs and research all your option thoroughly to see what will work best for you.